Photos: Jack Martin

On the way to Butternut, Bobby Sullivan, at highway speed, very nearly plowed into the back of the car carrying Dan Brown and Andy Parry as they made a left turn off of State Route 8. Mr. Bishop and I, for our part, very nearly smashed into the back of Bobby’s car, which would have pancaked the two vehicles in front of us, and ensured the total destruction of everyone involved.

This guy looks pumped! Big thanks to Tall T Productions for their support with the tour

In two days on the road with the Tell a Friend Tour, I learned that each event (and maybe even the lives of the people running it) hangs in a hilariously chaotic balance, pretty much 100% of the time. Like you don’t necessarily know where you’re going to sleep each night, and somebody might break something very important, and the plan for getting from here to there can change by the hour. But whatever complication presents itself to the tour, and especially to Andy – whose responsibility it is to wrangle kids, be on time, deal with dumbasses from visiting media companies; and, on top of all of that, make sure that each stop on his Tell a Friend Tour is as memorable and as special as it can be for every young skier who’s there to see him – (deep breath) ALL OF THAT CRAP changes the moment you pull into the parking lot at the base of the hill. Because at that moment, the stop is officially a go, and the focus switches from your own issues to ensuring that every kid out there has an honest-to-god blast.

The midday session was typically chaotic, and typically fun

And, I mean, that’s kind of the way it goes with skiing. It’s about the oldest cliché in the book to say that the minute you click into your bindings nothing else matters. What the Tell a Friend Tour does is make sure that this day, when Andy and his friends roll up to your hill, will prove to you the truth behind the hyperbole.

Charlie Dayton mid S-rail

Take Lewis for example. The guy had been in some trouble in the past; whatever it was isn’t important. He said he wasn’t even sure if he’d be able to ski this season, but he caught a break here and there and everything turned out okay, for at least this year. “Man, I heard the guys were coming through the area,” he said, “so I figured I’d come down and see what it was about.” The kid was pretty funny – long hair, several-XL Saga tucked into Tom Wallisch pro-model Full Tilts, and a camo balaclava. On rides up he’d spit the occasional Wu Tang line as it blasted from his headphones. Lewis lapped with us from start to finish, stomped a fairly burly lip-on blind 2 and even stuck around to win some new goggles in the raffle.

A local lays out a backie

Or take Warren, a shy kid who said he’d bought a pair of Line skis a few months before and was stoked to find out the guys would be rolling through town. He double ejected on flat ground at the entrance to park, and later bailed spectacularly trying to ski slide a butter box. “This is the best day of my life,” he confessed, pulling to a stop next to me as the crew got ready for another run through the park.

Andy talking strat with the gang

Kevin Merchant aka Tweak lays it down in the pizza suit.

The point here is that the Tell a Friend Tour isn’t worried about much else. It isn’t worried about how good of a skier you are, or your style, or how big your local hill is. Really the only concern for anyone involved is whether or not you’re having fun. Cause when you click in to those bindings… Ah fuck it, you know the rest.

Click here for more info on the rest of the stops on the tour